There’s a force at work within a person striving for greatness, something like a drug that keeps her coming back to the field, the studio, the rock, the water.
That force is within you. It’s the same power we all access when we push our limits and it’s easy to recognize. Fear shows up, for one thing. Fear is present and uncertainty is palpable. That’s how you know you’re at the edge. Your heart races and your nerves fire. You’re not sure your going to survive this.
But you do.
You’ve put everything you had on the line and on the other side you’ve discovered new territory. You’re stronger for having given it your all and there’s an exhilarating and humbling knowledge that even after all that, you haven’t yet reached your highest potential.
The professional makes a daily habit out of pushing her limits. It’s not a coincidence that the majority of people doing great work in the world, the movers and shakers we strive to be like, make it a priority to move their bodies every day. They know the secret. They know that the effort they put in first thing in the morning is going to be the effort they work from all day long.
When an athlete/professional pushes herself to the edge she taps into reserves she didn’t know she had. She calls on her Self to finish the task at hand.
She takes that certainty of self into every meeting, every presentation and every interaction throughout her day. Imagine what it would feel like to know that you have your own back. How would it feel to know who you are and what you are capable of? I’ll tell you how it feels: thrilling, empowering, humbling, and satisfying. Now, imagine experiencing all of that before you even begin your work day.
That’s why the professional prioritizes a workout before she hits the office. Because she knows she’ll show up better, more efficient, more creative and focused. It’s not self-indulgent to make time for a sweat-session. It’s for the good of the team, her family and her work.
You owe it to yourself to find out what you are capable of. Then you owe it to yourself to find out again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. I promise you will feel scared, and spent, and sore.
You will also feel powerful, alive, and beautiful.
I recently found this Facebook status I wrote way back in 2011:
“Last night while rock climbing for the first time in a long time I was doing fairly well on my first wall. I was about 10 ft from the top, my arms ached a bit and I said to my belayer, “I think I’m done. That’s good enough.” I looked up, reconsidered and said to myself “Hm, maybe not.” I gave myself a boost, climbed a little higher and touched the bar at the top. The lesson I reminded myself of: Don’t settle for “Good Enough”. When you make up your mind to do something, do it to completion. It’s so easy to stop where everyone else does and say that’s Good Enough. Right past the point of Good Enough is Exceptional and Exceptional is always worth the effort.”
It’s so important for me to warn you about this. Once you decide to push it, there’s a sticky spot you’re going to hit called the mediocrity point. When you get to the point of unfamiliarity, you’re ego is going to become uncomfortable and your mind is going to play with the idea of loosening the slack just a little. It’s going to tell you that stopping here is good enough. Everyone else stopped here. You put in your time. You deserve a break.
You’re job is to recognize this trick and override it. Be stubborn. Don’t let it push you around. The mediocrity point is where most people stop. Don’t let it stop you. You’re smart. You know there’s no pride in a job done half-assed and you know you are worth more than “average”.
Past the mediocrity point is where the professionals play.
So, get in there and have fun.